“After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? Yes, Master, you know I love you. Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” He then asked a second time, Simon, son of John do you love me? Yes, master, you know I love you. Jesus, said, “Shepherd my sheep.” Then he said it a third time: Simon, son of John, do you love me? Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me? so he answered, Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.” Jesus said, Feed my sheep.”
When we read John 21:15-19, there is a lot to unpack in this text but I think it is relative to what Christ is expecting from us today. Jesus is now having breakfast with Simon- but He was preparing to draw something deeper out of Simon, a foundation of trust that was needed for the journey ahead. Simon becomes the rock and his faith is solidified after this conversation.
Imagine if Jesus had just given you a simple secret to success,like casting the net on the right side of the boat, in a business you had been struggling to manage, leading to major results. (Read the first part of chapter to see the details) Would you invest your time to hear more of what He has to say? Would you trust what Christ was teaching you or would you just ignore Him? I can imagine this is probably how Simon is feeling? What about you friend, Can Jesus pour into you today? Are you a willing open vessel?
In fact, Jesus has a personal encounter with Simon, why? He saw purpose in Simon and he spoke to the purpose, he had been created for, and not just who Simon was in the moment. Does Christ see purpose in you? Allow me to encourage you today-Purpose is in you, friend. Could Christ ask you the hard questions to see how you would respond? How would you respond if Jesus asked “Do you love me?” I believe what Jesus really was asking Simon (and us today) have we determined to follow God completely and be an open vessel for His service, commitment and transformation? In order to do this it requires some work from us:
First, Don’t be afraid to be stretched by the Master. Being stretched is a prerequisite for being used by God. There was a time when I used to enjoy working out (not so much now). One of the things I realized was important during my workouts was the ability to stretch. I used to think my muscles grew the most during the actual workout. However, our muscles actually grow the most when they are stretched because this tears and creates more space (tendon) for the new muscle to attach too-which makes them increase in size.
Stretching is necessary for use and Christ was stretching Simon’s faith by asking Him “Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter three times in three different ways, does he Love him. Remember this was the same Peter that had denied Jesus prior to his crucifixion. Peter was not in that same mindset as before he was now being asked to lay it all on the line? Stretching takes us beyond our comfort zone. It creates room for us to grow. Think about it when you go to physical therapy – does it feel good? No, but when you know the end result, we push pass the pain because we know it will be worth the healing. So instead of complaining, let’s thank God for the stretching; whether it is on our job, in your relationship or given more responsibility, God has you and is bringing you to an expected end.
Second, the true test of love is determined by our commitment to the Father. Jesus asked Simon three questions that gave clear instruction, clear authority and clear expectation. Jesus is not just interested in stretching us – He wants us to experience commitment with Him. How do I know? I am glad you asked. Luke 9:23 reads, “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This is not the easiest task- it requires sacrifice. I must confess my first response is sometimes to worry and then I am reminded of my commitment to the Lord. I can recall a time when I had lost my job and I was initially worried but then I had to remind myself that even in hard times he has me. I belong to Christ and I have committed to follow him no matter what. If I love Him as I say I love him then I will trust him and be obedient, even when I do not understand or see change.
In the NBA when a collegiate athlete signs a contract to a team organization, he does not just commit to the name of the organization but he is committed to the team. This is a binding contract that he has committed to for the entire season -this means that he is required to represent the organization at all times and he gives his best effort every game, for the organization. The same principal applies to the commitment that we make to Christ that we will represent Him at all times, when faced with hardships, trials and temptations. We stay committed. The commitment is binding and we are held to it friend. It is time for a reflection moment, How is our commitment does it resonate in love in your action and deeds? I am reflecting on this myself I am asking God to help me with this daily.
Last but not least, we must be willing to leave what is familiar to pursue uncharted ground. This can be hard to accept and is a struggle when moving from what you want to do to what God is calling you too. The former is comfortable but we must step out of comfortable to embrace the new. I can remember when I was launching this blog page and I had to step out of where I was to post on the internet. I was nervous and did not think it would benefit many but we move by faith. I had to step out on faith and trust the Father to lead me.
Jesus knew Simon Peter would have to grow in his mindset to be the servant-leader he was created to be. Jesus was looking beyond what Simon Peter could see in the natural and saw him in the Spirit. Simon had to be willing to go beyond fishing to become a fisherman of men. He was employed as a fisherman but had to leave that to follow Christ. He had to leave what worked for him to trust that which he had no idea of where it would take him. Can Christ see the same in you? Are you willing to be the servant that He called you to be?
That which Christ desires to get out of us is already in us. Can Christ depend on you to step up to the challenge to be the servant leader that He knows you to be? Are you willing to be an open vessel? The challenge for us today is to commit our All to Christ and see what blessings are ahead and enjoy the journey.